Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Good Life

Before my parents were ever granted American citizenship, they were Nepali. Though I was born in Virginia, I managed to spend a considerable time of my youth in Kathmandu, Nepal. While in my "motherland" I lived in a family compound of sorts. In traditional Nepali culture for any family who can afford to do so, this living arrangement is quite normal. My parents had a home adjacent to my dad's two brothers' respective homes; the three brothers, of course, had their homes directly in front of the home of their greatly-revered parents.
Immediately on the outskirts of the Adhikary family compound lived two other large families. The Dhungels and the Thapas. My dad's closest friends, till this day, are members of the Dhungel and Thapa families. Their children have carried on the tradition and today, my cousins are dear friends with the Dhungel and Thapa children.
Every time I go to Nepal this is one thing that strikes me about Nepali culture: though there is limited electricity, limited water, limited resources, blatantly shady politics and a host of other infuriating issues, the simple things in life like sharing genuine laughter with your loved ones is always available in abundance.
This morning, I'm writing from Michigan where the weather is cold and damp. I was drinking breakfast tea at my parent's place which is just down the road from my own and I happened to notice that our family dog, Sathi, has aged so much the skin around his neck is drooping. It reminded me of my childhood in Nepal. My Ba (grandpa) was so old his neck looked the same as Sathi's does now. Every afternoon, Ba would bask in the sun. Sitting firmly on a plastic lawn chair, he would stay planted on the porch with his wooden stick beside him. He always wore a hairstyle known to Nepali people as the, "Toop-pee."
(Shown in the picture)
My sister and I found great amusement playing with his Tooppee and we often placed our tiny hands on the flesh of his neck and flicked the saggy skin with our index fingers. This brought about a sense of joy that no game of Wii Fitness or Bejweled could ever replace. Ba never got angry, he would just laugh and laugh. We would join in and the most boisterous sessions of Laughter Yoga would take place at it's purest form. No jokes. Definitely no sense of humor--we were too young to have developed a serious sense of anything--just laughter!
As an adult I often hear friends and loved ones talking about success and happiness. I was once asked how much money I would have to earn before I felt, "happy." It seemed such an odd question, but not everyone has had the fortune of always having known the good life... a life that embraces the simple pleasures of family and friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet Sattvic Snack

I have a crazy-insane sweet tooth and I've been wanting a giant plate full of brownies and chocolate chip cookies ever since I deprived myself on Christmas. At times like these, I always think of my Canadian sister, Chelsea, who said to satisfy her sweet-tooth she opts for a giant bowl full of pomegranate seeds :) I agree, it is pretty fantastic! Enjoy!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So much for Sattvic!

The late great judge William Strong, nominated by the wonderful Yankee, Ulysses S. Grant, had a fantastic saying about failure. "The only time you don't fail is the last time you try anything - and it works."
Last week, as you know, I failed in my Sattvic journey by drinking two cups of coffee and though it seemed like a huge blunder, this week has definitely taken a complete nose-dive for the worst. Thursday night after a great Heated Power Yoga class, I met with a friend at my beloved Sidetracks Bar & Grill. While there, I felt so overwhelmed by hunger I completely forgot about my Sattvic Diet! I ordered and devoured, what else? Their brand new dish, The Yankee Pot Roast. Jeepers.
If that wasn't bad enough, last night I had a mini-reunion with some college friends. One of them ordered Hot Chicken Wings. The mere apple I ate for dinner didn't seem to suffice--as soon as the chicken was placed at the table before me, the aroma of the hot sauce enveloped me.
It wasn't even until this morning, in one of those slap-your-forehead moment-of-clarity moments that I remembered I wasn't supposed to be eating meat. Ay yai yai.
Good thing today is a new day. I will continue to try the Sattvic way and make Judge Strong proud.

If you, too, are having difficulties: remember, STAY STRONG!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weekly Vlog #2: Back Care Basics

My good friend, Numa, requested I teach her some back-care yoga for her "bad" lower back. The beauty about this whole situation is that she lives in England. I was able to create this video in Michigan and somehow it will help her overseas! The wonders of modern technology and the ancient science of Yoga meeting are simply astounding to me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Embrace Uncertainty

Yesterday Ann Arbor was hit very hard with a crazy snow storm.

There were cars on the sides of the roads, flashing red and blue lights, beautiful snowflakes all twirling into one another. Each and every one was absolutely different and spectacular. I still had my Heated Power Yoga class and I'm so happy I did! When I first started Take Five Yoga I thought for sure all of my classes would be packed and when they weren't I was a bit disappointed.

After last night, however, I realized I'm exactly where I should be. It's only week 2 and I still had a class to teach because even in the snowstorm I had a student who drove all the way over to my teeny-tiny studio. One of my two Yoga gurus, Stephanie Keach, wrote to me this morning from Asheville, North Carolina. She dropped me a quick e-mail with only three lines that were just enough. The last line was: "Tiny is big."

2010 was a year where nothing went as planned in my life. 2011 has already taught me so many life-lessons I will cherish forever. Mainly, I think it's important to embrace uncertainty. Who knows what can happen in the next hour, day, week or year? We have absolutely no control over most things in our lives. We may as well just surrender and go with the flow in the meantime.

Crazy snowstorm? I say, hit the slopes!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Having trouble sleeping? Turn off your ipad & turn on your Yoga Nidra

My dad recently purchased an ipad and my entire family's gotten completely hooked. Mainly, to Pandora. It's amazing that just by plugging in one artist you're fond of, let's say Manu Chao, the Pandora Gods can somehow find a similair artist like La Vela Puerca and viola! It's musical heaven. I can see how most people might not want to put down their ipad once they buy one. Unfortunately, it seems that a recent CNN study has revealed this problem many ipad owners are experiencing--being unable to put down the pad--is creating a host of other issues. Mainly, a loss of sleep.

The often controversial Medical Doctor and practitioner of Natural Health Remedies, Dr. Joseph Mercola makes the following argument:

"Everything in nature has a rhythm, and that includes your body. The ebb and flow of the ocean's tide, the rising and setting of the sun, and the transition from one season to another all happen with comforting regularity. Your body, too, strives to keep its 24-hour cycle, or circadian rhythm, steady and even.

This is why most of us naturally feel like waking when the sun comes up, and sleeping when it's dark.

Researchers have also shown how your circadian rhythm is involved in everything from sleep, to weight gain, mood disorders, and a variety of diseases.

Unfortunately, modern life throws multiple wrenches into the works, as it were, mainly by artificially extending 'daytime.'"

So the next time you want to log on to your ipad or lap-top try weighing your options: is the momentary satisfaction worth the next day spent groggy and half awake?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sattvic Meal #6

Ahh, nuthin quite as nice as good ol' basics. Corn on the Cob with some butter and salt :) It's too cold for me to go outside and place my corn on the grill so I just placed it in my oven and hit "broil." I also had some steamed edamame which was lightly salted. For my sweet tooth, a bowl of Michigan cherries.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sattvic Meal #5

This is a meal I could eat daily for the rest of my life and be perfectly content! It's sooooo simple, it's amazing.
In a little pan heat up some olive oil and chunky pieces of ginger. Add some spinach and drizzle some soy sauce. Pour this over rice and prepare for one of the most delicious Sattvic meals ever!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Confession #1

The great English author, playwright, poet and just overall artist William Shakespeare once wrote, "To thine own self be true." Ladies and gentlemen, I think it's important to be true to yourself, but also to those around you. Particularly when others hold you to a certain moral standard.
It is officially Day 8 of my month-long Sattvic Diet challenge and I have failed you all by not following through this morning. Though typically I've been meeting friends and just ordering water or warm tea, today I met with a good friend and as we discussed the possibilities of making a yoga DVD, I ended up becoming a little overwhelmed with excitement... in the process of talking business I got a little carried away by future prospects and completely forgot about anything Sattvic (Sentient). My friend and I were at Bob Evan's and I specifically prepared & ate a Sattvic Meal before the meeting, but once there I ended up ordering--dun, dun, DUNNNN--a piping hot mug full of coffee.
My dad, a devout follower of The Great Sage of Arunachala, Ramana Maharshi, explained that yogis of South India typically drank coffee with no qualms and while that was mildly consoling, I do genuinely feel a bit disappointed in myself and I apologize for letting any of you down if you were looking to me for strength during this challenge.
I will resume the Sattvic challenge and carry on for the rest of January because much like my yogic practice on the mat, I believe in life also, there will be many times where I fall and fail temporarily. I just need to get back up, inhale and exhale, deeply planting my feet into the Earth and embrace what may come.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sattvic Meal #4

Mmmmmm Mmm!!!!! My favorite vegetable in Nepali cooking tastes ABSOLUTELY delicious even when Sattvic :) Isn't life great sometimes? Here's a super simple way to cook Cowliflower:

In a large pan heat up some olive oil. Place cowliflower that's been cut to nice big chunky pieces in the oil. Add a dash of turmeric for a nice, vibrant yellow, some ground cumin and at the very end garnish with my favorite herb--cilantro!

I like to eat this with some steamed brown rice. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sattvic Meal #3

I realize that a cold salad might not be the most appealing meal during wintertime, but this is so delicious & simple I had to share! Boil some barley and set it aside. Cut some Granny apples, get some walnuts, pomegranate seeds and in a little bowl whisk together some honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Mix all the ingredients together and ENJOY a splendidly Sattvic salad :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mad About Meditation!

The latest issue of Om Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine has a great article about the wonders of meditation. Since I've been waking up at 4:30am to lead Guided Meditation classes at 5:30AM every morning this week, I've definitely felt a significant shift in my level of clarity. Needless to say, I'm mad about meditation and I'm happy to share the following excerpt from the aforementioned article:

Scientists at the University of Oregon discovered just eleven hours of learning a meditation technique can induce positive structural changes in brain connectivity.

"The importance of our findings relates to the ability to make structural changes in a brain network related to self-regulation," said University of Oregon psychologist Dr. Michael Posner.

The study focused on a meditation technique known as Integrative Body Mind Training (IBMT). Based on ancient Chinese medicine, IBMT combines posture, mental imagery and body relaxation and breathing techniques.

So, exactly what are you waiting for? It's a brand new year, begin your brand new day tomorrow morning by joining me for an hour of Guided Meditation! I'll have your cushion ready :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

First in a series of a new weekly Vlog: Virabhadrasana/Warrior 1

Before I present to you the instructional video for Warrior One, I'd like to offer a Sattvic Recipe (#2) for breakfast. It's extremely simple:
Oatmeal with milk (for vegans any variation is fine: rice milk, soy milk, etc.) and Cinnamon. Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sattvic Meal #1

One of the biggest concerns a lot of people have expressed regarding this Sattvic Diet Challenge is, "What am I supposed to do when I go out to eat?" While I can't speak for any other areas in the country, I do think those of us in the Ann Arbor area are extremely fortunate! Yesterday to ring in the New Year, my good friend and I went to a restaurant on Liberty St. Seva's offers really delicious vegetarian food at a relatively reasonable price.

The entire menu was full of yummy-choices, but everything except for one dish had loads of garlic and onions. The picture above is of the only purely Sattvic meal I was able to find: Basil Pesto with Mozarella cheese and one slice of tomato on whole wheat bread. Since potatoes are considered too starchy for the Sattvic tradition, I opted to order a side of steamed broccoli instead of the standard French Fries.

This is a super simple meal that is easy to re-create in the comfort of your own kitchen! To make the basil pesto sauce simply grind fresh basil leaves (I have basil plants all year round) with olive oil, salt and some pine nuts. You can either grill or toast the whole wheat bread and mozarella and tomatoes should be available all year round at all grocery stores.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


Many people seem to wonder exactly what yogis (people who practice Yoga) eat. Known to some as a Yoga Diet, the Sattvic Diet (Sentient Diet) is, in fact, one that dates back thousands of years ago; it has little to do with weightloss. Sattvic Diets are more about creating a sense of balance between your mind, body and spirit.
Slightly rigid by nature, the Sattvic Diet is known to provide clarity of the mind and offers a myriad of benefits to the body. Usually, it is assumed that while eating foods encouraged in the Sattvic traditions, yoga is practiced simultaneously, hence a strengthened inner-spirit is cultivated as well.

Here are a list of foods and beverages that are OKAY in the Sattvic Diet:
* Fresh, organic fruits
* Fresh, organic dairy
* Unsalted nuts (which have not been overly roasted), seeds and oils
* Organic Vegetables which are mild in nature (for example, Sattvic Diets require that you avoid pungent veggies like peppers or starchy veggies like potatoes)
* Whole grains: rice, oatmeal, barley, etc.
* Legumes like split mung beans, yellow split peas, organic tofu, etc.
* For sweetening dishes use honey

* For spices avoid anything that heats the body up such as Garlic or Onions. Stick, instead to mild spices like Basil, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cumin, Nutmeg or Corriander

Foods and Beverages one should completely avoid in the Sattvic Diet are:
* All meat products including fish and eggs
* All alcoholic beverages including beer and wine
* All forms of smoking including Cannibus and Tobacco
* Any stimulant such as caffeine or sugar

All right, now that it is absolutely clear what can and cannot be consumed... here is my challenge for you all:
Let's enter 2011 with a purely Sentient Diet for the entire month of January! Who's with me?
I will be posting what I've eaten for breakfast/lunch/dinner so that you all can get some ideas of what to prepare. I hope you either comment on this blog with your own recipes or you e-mail me at:

I'm SOOOOOOOOO excited about this!!!!!!